Dribbling the ball in soccer is within the reach of few. In seconds it becomes an ally and the player turns into a magician. One of the most difficult feints to execute, but seen in the great players, is the ‘Elastico’, which Sergio Echigo, a former Corinthians player, and one of the top Latin athletes of Asian Heritage is known for inventing.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, on July 28, 1942 to Japanese immigrant parents, Echigo was very talented from an early age. At 18 he already had a contract with the Brazilian soccer team Corinthians, which was able to foresee his enormous ability as a right wing.
During his one-year stay at the Brazilian club from Sao Paulo, he shared the court with Rivelino, another Brazilian with enormous talent dribbling the ball. It is said that during that time Echigo taught his teammate the ‘Elastico’ feint, which he made famous during his career. He later had stints with Trespontano, Bragantino and Paulista before seeking new horizons.
He went to Japan in 1972 to play for the Towa Real Estate Soccer Club. Despite the harsh criticism he received for his short stay in Brazil, Echigo managed to amaze Japanese fans for many years with his enormous skill with the ball combined with speed.
— セルジオ越後 (@sergio_echigo) April 15, 2021
After his arrival in Japan, Echigo showed his interest in helping young people, and since 1978 has taught youth players as a certified soccer instructor by the Aquarius Soccer Clinic, recognized by the JFA.
His charisma and desire to help have characterized him throughout his career, one of the most beloved players in Japan. Using his unique teaching methods and his great ability to speak with humor, he has transmitted the love of soccer to more than 600,000 young students.
In 2016, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology honored him as someone who has contributed to soccer throughout his life and in 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan recognized him for his outstanding work as a broadcaster of Japanese football. In 2017, he received the Somitsu Order of the Rising Sun for his many years of service and achievements to the public and society.
Now, every time you see an ‘Elastico’ performed by soccer stars remember Echigo, without whom Rivelino, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo would not have been able to get out of many tight squeezes. Thanks to that dribble, Echigo gifted the sport of football many magical moments, while soccer returned the favor providing him with a life full of satisfaction.